CONCACAF Gold Cup: USMNT vs. Haiti Preview

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CONCACAF Gold Cup: USMNT vs. Haiti Preview

The U.S. continues its Gold Cup tittle defense having played their first game against Honduras last Tuesday and winning 2-1, even though it wasn’t an

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The U.S. continues its Gold Cup tittle defense having played their first game against Honduras last Tuesday and winning 2-1, even though it wasn’t an easy game. This time the U.S. will face Haiti in Massachusetts, and we can expect a somewhat easier game than Honduras, however the U.S. still needs to improve a couple of things, as their performance in the first game was not as dominant as most expected.

[quote_box_center]“All of these games are going to be tough – it’s a quality tournament,” midfielder Graham Zusi told ussoccer.com. “I wouldn’t rank the Honduras game as any more difficult than the others, but we got in early against a strong opponent. It wasn’t the prettiest, but it was a good win against a team that’s playing well at the moment.” [/quote_box_center]

Haiti tied 1-1 against Panama, even though most thought Panama was a stronger team and was expected to win. So we can definitely see that Haiti is working really hard to go as far as possible in the competition. Also, Haiti and Mexico are the two CONCACAF countries with an all-time winning record against the U.S. and they almost beat the Americans in the 2009 Gold Cup.

[quote_box_center]“They surprised a lot of people,” Jurgen Klinsmann told ussoccer.com “They’re a good team – very strong individual athletes in there and dangerous players as well. We need to be on our toes.” [/quote_box_center]

Even though this is one of the teams the U.S. is less familiar with compared with other nations, almost every player on the Haiti squad play abroad. For example, two of their midfielders, Jeff Louis and jean Sony Acenat play for European clubs.

California native and U.S. forward Chris Wondolowski added: “They’re a very athletic team, they’ll be very physical and they’ll create some problems.”

As far as who we should be seeing on the field today, we can expect a higher rate of player rotation, as they need to rest some players and keep fresh legs.

[quote_box_center]“A tournament you only win with an entire group and No. 23 is as important as No. 1,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “Anything can happen, but also there’s a tricky situation, especially now in the Gold Cup, where you play every three days in the group games, which is a very short turnaround for every team.”[/quote_box_center]

[quote_box_center]“We think through that and we also still see a lot of competition going on in our own team, quite a lot of 50-50 situations on the table. You can discuss, as every soccer fan can discuss, that you want to see that guy or that guy play, and we have those discussions as well as coaches. We want to see them perform in training. We want to see them put a stamp on their own personal situation, especially when they get to play.” [/quote_box_center]

If the U.S. wins today, they will already save their spot in the quarterfinals and the knockout round. Also, if the U.S. wins and Honduras and Panama tie, this would guarantee the first place in the group for the Americans.

Next Monday, the U.S. will face Panama in Kansas City for the last match of the group stage. It would be ideal to get this win today, since the game against Panama will most likely be the toughest one, as Panama went to the finals in 2013 and have a good team of experienced CONCACAF players.

[quote_box_center]“We know it’s not going to be easy,” said Zusi. “Every game in this tournament is going to be a battle and we have to be prepared for each one and take care of business.”[/quote_box_center]